Carlo Scotto and the fine dining restaurant, Xier, in London
Naples-born Carlo Scotto is the creative talent behind the brand new modern fine dining restaurant, Xier, in London. The restaurant, with casual dining for 62 covers on the ground floor, and a 38-cover dinner-only tasting menu upstairs, serves inventive European influenced by Chef Carlo’s travels around the world. But the products he sources is much more local, with most of it coming from the Rhug Estate Organic Farm in North Wales.
We chat to Chef Carlo about finding peace in the kitchen, working with some of the biggest names in food, and opening his first solo project.
So Carlo, you had your first professional experience as a chef apprentice in Michelin-starred Don Salvatore in Naples at the age of 13 – did you know from such a young age already that you wanted to be a chef?
I did. My childhood wasn’t great, and I was always a bit of a troubled kid. My younger years were tough, and I remember I always wanted to cook – so one day I did. The funny thing is that once I put that chef jacket on for the first time, all the drama seemed to go away and I realised that the kitchen gave me peace.
When you moved to London you worked with Corbin & King before joining Gordon Ramsay’s Michelin-starred Murano, under Angela Hartnett – what was it like working with these icons of the food world?
It was hard and intense, but more because of the language barrier than the long hours.
They are incredible chefs and restaurateurs. It really was a great privilege to work for them.
What was the most important thing you learned from working with Angela Hartnett?
She taught me to believe in myself and to always give somebody a chance, like she did with me when all the others didn’t.
You also worked at Michelin-starred Galvin La Chapelle before being Head Chef at Babbo in Mayfair – how did you find being in such a high post, especially as you were only 26 at the time?
The Galvin Brothers are incredibly hard-working chefs, I was lucky enough to be part of the team and now consider them friends. Seeing how they handled the pressure of the kitchen helped prepare me mentally for Babbo.
Working in a Mayfair restaurant can be really demanding, and I gained invaluable life lessons, which I have taken with me to launch Xier.
Yes, and you’re now launching Xier in London’s Marylebone district. Please tell us about your vision for the restaurant.
We want to ensure we give our guests the best possible experience at the restaurant. We are creating X R (downstairs) as our neighbourhood restaurant for all-day casual dining and Xier (upstairs) as our destination restaurant featuring a tasting menu for more of an occasion. Having both restaurants on one site is going to be an exciting challenge. We want people to come to Xier for a special occasion and to come again and eat something different at XR for a casual lunch or dinner. I want to appeal to everyone.
It’s always been my ambition to open a restaurant that showcased what I love about food from around the world. Since I arrived 15 years ago, London has been a place that has brought me incredible opportunities, so it felt right to open here and to showcase fantastic British produce. I’m excited to be opening a venue that will also take people on their own culinary journey.
How would you describe your cooking style, and the menu?
I would describe my cooking style as modern European with a global influence. It is full of flavour and inspired by my travels through Asia. I really enjoy combining ingredients that are not usually seen together.
What’s one of the dishes at Xier that you’re most proud of?
Salmon and Foie Gras. The Salmon is marinated in rose petal and rose water, papaya, bramley apple and the foie gras is powdered in beetroot. You wouldn’t think it works but it does.
That certainly sounds enticing! Thank you, Chef Carlo, and all the best with launching Xier.
What is your plan for your future as a chef?
Create your own free profile and see what you can do! Get ready for your new challenges!